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Legal Developments

Richard Hammar’s Review of Cases Affecting Ministers and Churches
Find summaries of key state and federal court decisions, administrative rulings, and legislative developments. While each development is important, some are vital. Look for Key Point as an indicator.
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Confidential and Privileged Communications

Sexual Abuse Conviction Upheld Despite the Defendant’s Claim His Pastor Broke Privilege Member access only

A man was sentenced to two life terms in prison for sexual battery and lewd or lascivious molestation of his stepdaughter.
January 2022
Excess Benefit Transactions

Charity Founder’s Wife Heavily Penalized for Excess Benefit Member access only

Tax Court upholds more than in penalties and taxes for unreported compensation left uncorrected.
November 2021
First Amendment

Ex-Employee’s Lawsuit Against Church Fails Under Church Autonomy Doctrine Member access only

Florida appeals court also rejects agency law claim based on the doctrine.
November 2021
Employment Practices

Unmarried Pregnant Employee Can Sue Religious School for Discrimination Member access only

Appeals court says “knowledge or mere observation” of woman’s pregnancy is not a “permissible basis” to fire her under state law.
November 2021
Fraud

Priest Sentenced to Nearly Eight Years for Embezzlement Member access only

The federal court also ordered nearly $260,000 in restitution payments and $46,000 in back taxes.
November 2021